Ammonia leak hits Dolefil; 35 hospitalized

A pineapple worker in Polomolok, South Cotabato. MindaNews file photo by BOBBY TIMONERA

KORONADAL CITY (MindaNews/24 Sept) – An ammonia leak hit a facility of fruit giant Dole Philippines, Inc (Dolefil) in Polomolok, South Cotabato shortly before Monday morning, a company official said.

Gwyn Ann Marie Ebol-Palima, Dolefil corporate communications manager, said at least 35 individuals were brought to the company’s Howard Hubbard Memorial Hospital (HHMH) following the ammonia leak that hit one of their facilities in Barangay Cannery, Polomolok at around 11:45 p.m. Sunday.

As of around 2 p.m. on Monday, 18 have already been discharged while 17 were still under observation at the hospital, she said.

“The response team of Dolefil quickly contained the release,” she said.

According to her, the factory was on a regularly scheduled shutdown at the time.

Those brought to the hospital were all from Purok Sta. Cruz, an area adjacent to the firm’s facility where the ammonia leak occurred, she said.

They all received utmost medical care from the HHMH staff, Ebol-Palima said, noting that those who remained at the hospital “were not in serious medical conditions.”

The company executive said some of those rushed to the hospital have vomited or complained of nausea.

She said the company is still investigating what caused the ammonia leak.

“Dolefil takes the safety of its employees, its operations, and the community as its top priority. We will continue to monitor those affected to ensure their safety and well-being,” Ebol-Palima said.

The mayor’s office and barangay officials have been informed of the incident, she added. (MindaNews)